Its leave begins July.
British marque Jaguar are preparing to make a major change to their lineup as, after over half a century since the nameplate was introduced, the iconic XJ is about to take a break ahead of the arrival of its replacement next year. The final XJ is scheduled to roll out of the Castle Bromwich facility in July, with the unveiling of the next-generation reinvented flagship saloon slated for sometime in 2020.
This will mark the end of the XJ as we’ve come to know it, as a combustion-powered luxury saloon with svelte lines and a uniquely-British stiff upper lip. Last year the XJ50 special edition was unveiled to mark 50-years of the XJ, itself based on the X351 chassis that’d been in production for damn nearly a decade at that point. When it finally retires, the 8th-generation XJ would’ve been in production for exactly 10-years.
Anyone who doesn’t recognise the value & heritage of the Jaguar XJ doesn’t know his cars, as the XJ’s long-standing position as the pinnacle of Jaguar motoring is well-documented. Despite its status as an icon of motoring, the XJ’s sales numbers haven’t reflected that. In December 2018, Autocar states that just 301 Jaguar limousines were sold, which pales in comparison to the near-5000 F-Pace SUVs, 2252 XE small saloons, and even the near-500 F-Type sports cars that were shifted in the same period.
But the UK rag has had sources confirm to it that they will “continue the XJ nameplate,” with a 2020 ‘reinvention’ expected to see the XJ reborn as an all-electric saloon. So specified, the XJ-EV will do battle with the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S directly, in addition to fending off the usual suspects in the form of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.
While the year-long pause will be something of an upset, reinvention is not a new concept for the XJ. In 2002, the predecessor to the current XJ was the very first Jaguar to be made entirely of aluminium, while the outgoing-generation XJ was the first to introduce the more ‘traditional’ proportions that had been a hallmark of the big Jag since 1968. With the new fully-electric model on the horizon, we can only wonder just what Coventry has in store for its historic XJ badge, and whether its electric reinvention will be precisely what it needs to launch itself firmly into the mainstream.